POSITIVE WRITTEN SERMON – Complete Funeral Service, and family pre-meeting

POSITIVE WRITTEN SERMON - Complete Funeral Service, and family pre-meeting

Time Sensitivity: as needed


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(Suggest printing in large type, and placing in heavy plastic sleeves in a 8 x 10 notebook for outside services that may be windy or rainy. If using additional Post-it notes do not rely on their stickiness alone, heavily tape to the plastic sheets, or place under the plastic.)


“Lo, I am with you always” Matthew 28:20

(((Opening Music)))

We are here to honor the life of (full name)

Please join me in prayer:

By Your grace, O God, lover of my soul, strength of my body, light of my life, I am sustained, freed from my sorrow. My heart is at peace for I am one with You. My faith has told me so. I draw nearer to You, dear loving God, that I may be nearer to [my loved one] who is with You.

Help me to know perfectly that life is eternal, and death but a shadow that hides from my earthly sight the unseen world into which [my dear one] has stepped. Love knows no boundaries, and the love of my heart reaches into the beyond.

You did not lose when You gave [this dear one] to me, and I cant lose when [my beloved] returns to Your eternal home. As it promises in the Bible, “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2).

Still in the shadow of Your protection, still in Your loving care, only into another room has [my dear one] gone. This I know, even as I know You are ever watchful over me.

As to life in this other room, I trust that to You. I know that when the veils of uncertainty are fully lifted from my vision I shall see clearly into this room, and know perfectly all that is now hidden.

Help me, dear God, to understand the mystery of eternal life. Some day I shall understand. Until then I am content to know that [my beloved] is with You, safe in Your everlasting arms.

Now we continue our prayer with the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restored my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness of His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil: My cup runneth over

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

In Jesus Christ’s name. . Amen

I would like to share the following with you. It is called “There Is No Death.”

I am standing on the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!” Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living weight to her destined harbor.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment then someone at my side says, “There! She’s gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, aid other voices ready to take up the glad shout, ‘There she comes!”

And that is dying.

(((SOLO or MUSIC)))

We are gathered here today to reaffirm our faith in life eternal as we bless [this loved one] on [his~her] way into [his/her] next experience in living.

It is our prayer that from this time forward we may never think of [him/her] as limited by time or form, but always as a living soul, continuing on the pathway of life, ever in our heavenly God’s wise and loving care,

The Holy Bible gives us many promises concerning eternal life, Here are a few:

John 5:24, “He that heareth my word. and believeth Him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life”.

John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die”.

II Corinthians 4:16-18, “No wonder we do not lose heart! Our eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen: for what is seen passes away; what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly frame that houses us today should be demolished, we possess a building which God has provided – a house not made by human hands, eternal, and in heaven. In this present body we do indeed groan; we yearn to have our heavenly habitation put on over this one”.

I Corinthians 15:44-49, “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body … , the first child is of the earth, earthy: the second child is of heaven – and as we have borne the image of the earth,, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.. For, our citizenship is in heaven”.

Life, being of God and actually being an extension of God Himself into His creation, can under no conditions be lost. Life is eternal. It never ceases to exist. It does not allow itself to he lost or ended any more than God, our Creator and sustainer is ever lost.

There is not now, never has been, and never can be any absence of life anywhere, any time, because there can never be an absence of God,

Life does not move toward death. It moves toward more life. It turns death into life. It turns inanimate matter into life. It turns lesser forms of life into higher forms of life, It invents. It evolves. It shapes itself into new and ever more various forms, with greater capacities for living. It moves from brute to human and from human beyond that, that we can ever know. Even now the life-force is pressing to outstrip itself, to surpass and over-top all that it has so far done.

It is as when we climb a mountain. Sometimes to reach the peak we have to go down into a valley. But when we emerge, we are closer to the peak.

Life does not go backward. Life goes forward. Life is like Napoleon’s drummer boy – it does not know how to beat retreat. Its bugles, even blowing requiem, sound for the living and are a call to life, When the winding of the horn has died away upon the air and pulses only in our heart, we lift our eyes to green endeavors

We can fix our gaze on the death and the dying, or even trouble and evil and imperfection. But this is not the whole view. Life is whole, and to be understood, it must be seen whole.

It is not that the facts are not the facts. It is just that they are not the truth. Believing that the facts are the truth is like believing that the sun has stopped shining because we happen at the moment to be in darkness. The long day’s journey is not into the night. Though we move through 10,000 nights, the journey is and always has been toward a brighter day.

The setting sun is but the other side of the rising sun! Nevertheless, even from this part view, seeing things moment-by-moment and little-by-little, we see that if there is darkness, there is also light.

For the person passing through death, it is really a birth into a new and better world. Those who are left behind should not grieve as if there were no hope. Life is changed, not taken away. Our dear ones live on in a world beautiful beyond anything we can imagine. With God, they await the day when they will welcome us with joy.

At a sad time like this we ask, “What happens when the individual goes through the experience humans call death?” This is simply the separation of the soul from a particular body.

The body is merely the clothing that the soul has worn for a time. In this process called death, the clothing is discarded, and the soul goes on to its next experience in Divine unfoldment.

The soul of [the one we love] is not here in this casket. This is but the body that housed the individual. The soul, the spiritual being, is too great to be confined,

As we lay aside a garment at the end of a day, so [our loved one] has laid aside the garment of the flesh.

(His/Her] soul continues in another sphere of life. Although invisible to us, [he/she] continues [his/her] soul experience.

In this gathering of loved ones and friends, we are particularly aware of the love and friendship of this one we have known, and we are saddened in the thought that something precious has gone out of our lives. But we know that it is not the outer face or form that draws a host of friends, Rather it is the inner qualities–love, strength, and joy–that come from the heart of God and find expression in those with whom we share rich experiences.

(((PERSONAL COMMENTS))) – this is the place for the complete biography of the deceased’s life that the family has given you starting the birthplace, schooling, military service, places of residence, hobbies, vocation, accomplishments, awards, clubs belonged to, location of death.

(((Ask if anyone would like to say anything about (him/her)))

Wait just a brief moment, there probably will not be anyone because this is so hard to do. But there will be occasions where you will have many that wish to speak, including family members that had indicated so.

And personal comments section with:

The sunrise of this earthly life – ____________ (date). The sunset of this journey – ____________ (date).

“The free gift of God,” said Paul, “is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). Life did not begin when we were born, nor does it cease when we die, anymore than we begin to live when we put on a garment, or cease to live if we lay it aside. It is true that a part of our spiritual growth is to learn to exercise our God-given dominion over the body, but as it says in I Corinthians 15:26, “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” I am sure that as we cross that threshold that humans called death we ourselves will smile a bit, because we realize that death is not a period, but simply a comma in the story of life.

To overcome death we must place our emphasis upon life. The more completely we express life, the more our lives will increase.

We should not fear death, either for ourselves or for others. We do not fear it if we are firmly established in the understanding of God’s love for us. We wish for those whom we love only that which is for their good. If we knowingly had the power, we would ensure that good to them. If our human love would do so much, how much more will the love of God do! We readily forgive the errors of those whom we love. We help them to overcome weakness, to manifest wisdom and strength. How much more does God forgive us our human mistakes, and help us to he strong and wise!

Our grief for the departed is not usually grief for them because they are with God and are happy again.

Our grief is for ourselves because we shall miss them and because we seem to be separated from them.

We take from bereavement its greatest power to us when we realize that in fact our grief is for ourselves.


This is entitled Eternal Vision:

They know me not who think that I am only flesh and blood a transient dweller on this fragile earth that gave me human birth,

For I am Spirit.
eternal, indestructible, not confined to space or time. And when my sojourn here is through, my roles fulfilled, my assignments done, I will lay aside this suit called my body and move on to other’ mansions, roles, assignments in our God’s house of eternal life.

So dry your tears.
weep not overmuch for me–or for yourself. Set me free, in the love that holds us all and makes us one eternally!

Our paths will cross again
Our minds and hearts will touch; our souls will shout with joy and laughter as we recall the lives we’ve lived, the worlds we’ve seen, the ways we’ve trod to find ourselves–at last–in God.


Let us all here at this moment form a Divinely appointed prayer group. As we pray together let us know that each one is enriched in his own experience of God and in his own participation in the life that is limited only by our present understanding.

Romans 8:38-39 “For l am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will he able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I believe prayer is the language of Spirit. It has no boundaries of time or space, so no one ever passes beyond the realms of prayer.

Let us enter into this time of prayer with open and receptive minds and hearts. As we do so, we shall release a real blessing of prayer that will follow our loved one in [his/her] great ongoing. Let us pray. Please join me in saying our Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it :is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread:
And forgive our debts,
As we have also forgiven our debtors.

And leave us not in temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.

Dear God, with the loss of our dear one, we turn sincerely to You, for the comfort and strength that You have to offer. We willingly turn to You in this time of need and we surrender all of our pain in one great gesture of letting go.

Dear God, we open ourselves to the influx of Your love, comfort, and strength. By becoming still in prayer, by listening, we hear Your voice, God, assuring us that all is not lost. We know with Your help, darkness will turn to light.

We find acceptance in our hearts of a deep and unexplainable Presence that gives us the strength to carry on.

Dear God, we feel Your Presence and warmth of Your love. In the awareness of our oneness with You, we feel a sense of closeness with all those whom we love, even (name) who has passed beyond our physical sight. We see [name] enfolded in Your love, and we know that Your light illumines [name] path.

Through the language of prayer, we extend the blessings of mind and heart to this dear one. To [name] in [his/her] ongoing we say: “We know that your faith is a lamp unto your feet. We know that you are secure in God and in life that is endless. Our prayer for you is this:

The light of God surrounds you;
The love of God enfolds you:
The power of God protects you;
The presence of God watches over you.
Wherever you are, God is!

We remember Jesus’ words of eternal life. We are lifted up in the thought of the eternal unending life in which we live, in which (name) lives. The Comforter with us brings to our remembrance the assurance that though to appearances life may seem to cease, behind the appearances is the Truth of eternal life.

And now, dear God, we give thanks that You strengthen us and lead us on our way, as we make our own adjustments in the days to come. We give thanks for guidance, understanding, strength, and peace. God, we thank Thee, for Thine “is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” Amen.


(((Post-service instrumental music)))


Funeral Committal graveside:

(This is generally very short, due to the weather elements, and that the formal service has already been done.)

We go to the grave of a friend saying a [man/woman] is dead. But angels throng about [him/her] saying a [man/woman] is born.

Friends, we are here to consecrate this resting place. To release this human form, and to commit the soul of our dear one into the care and keeping of God.

Allow me to share with you “The Traveler”
by James Dillet Freeman

[He/She] has put on invisibility.
Dear Lord, I cannot see–
But this I know, although the road ascends
And passes from my sight;
That there will be no night~
That You will take [him/her] gently by the hand
And lead [him/her] on
Along the road of life that never ends,
And [he/she/ will find it is not death but dawn
I do not doubt that You are there as here,
And You will hold [him/her] dear.

Our life did not begin with birth,
It is not of the earth;
And this that we call death, it is no more
Than the opening and closing of a door–
And in Your house how many rooms must be
Beyond this one where we rest momently

Dear Lord, I thank You for the faith that frees,
The love that knows it cannot lose its own,
The love that, looking through the shadows see
That you and [he/she] and I are ever one

This garment of flesh used for a time is not the reality of [our loved one]. I pray that this grave and its marker will never be a reminder of one who is dead. Rather, I pray it will always be a symbol of the life that was lived; life that is one with eternal life; life that in its ongoing seeks the fulfillment of God’s eternal life

Let us pray.

Dear God, we know that You are here as everywhere. We know that You consecrate this place and receive this human form. In its transition, we commit to Your care and keeping the soul we love.

To our dear one, this true spiritual being, we say:

“There shall be a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3).

We lift our eyes above and beyond “the valley of the shadow of death,” (Psalms 23:4). to the sunrise of a new day and to a new life.

We bless our dear one in [his/her] journey forward, and we loose [him/her] and let [him/her] go. As we turn to face the work that lies before us, we remember the promise of Jesus-

“Lo, I am with you always” Matthew 28:20

Thank You, God, for the privilege we have had to share our life experience with [name]. We know that all the good we have shared with [name] makes us richer and better able to fulfill our part in the challenge of living.

We thank You, God for Your love and ever-present help on our way.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.



First meeting with family, SHEET FOR QUESTIONS:

(Give of business card with ALL your numbers, including home, personal cell phone, to every person in attendance. Some of the most meaningful comments about the deceased may come later.)

I developed this sheet after doing a funeral for a housewife. After the service they said, “You called her Mary, we all called her June.” Sometimes a person’s name is quite different from what is on their birth certificate, the family in their grief will often forget to mention these things.

Another time I did a service, and afterwards the extended family said you never mentioned her military service (it was quite extensive.) Again the family thought that this was a given, that everyone should know. I didn’t know.

Service date: __________________

Time: _______________

Funeral Home: __________________________________________
Address: _______________________________________________

Funeral Home Contact: __________________________________

Funeral Home phone: ____________________________________

Place of service_______________________ Special Directions_________________

Ask funeral home: what type of service? Where in building? How many people will be attending? Request a microphone, if over a few. People are often older, and unless sitting on the front row they will not hear you. This is a given most places, but not all. Many times the funeral home will use community buildings, and halls, not normally for funerals. They will not think about microphones until it’s too late.

Ask if you will be going to the cemetery?
Should you drive in your own car, or ride in the hearse?

If driving your own car where should you be in the procession? (Normally clergy car follows the hearse.)

Request that funeral home sends you in advance, by email, the newspaper obit.

Note: Good funeral directors – direct. But with funeral homes becoming corporate I have seen that sadly drastically change over the last decades.

I have had a lot of funerals that I completely ran, because funeral home didn’t know how.

Family Contact_________________________________________
Phone:______________________ Relationship_______________

Deceased Full Legal Name:_______________________________


Born______________________ Where_____________________

Passed Where _______________ When____________________




Service – Branch – History___________________________


(City) Resident (or) what led to him/her to (City)




(Note: this is the story of the journey and will often take up several pages)

Married_________ How many years __________ Where_____________

(Note: I usually only mention the last marriage, unless there are special circumstances)

How many children__________

First Names (by order of birth)

__________ __________ __________ __________ __________

__________ __________ __________ __________ __________

Career(s) _______________________________________________



Clubs ___________________________________________________


Hobbies/Loves/Passions in life___________________________


Special Friendships:_____________________________________


Will anybody be speaking, or presenting Bible, poetry etc. at the service?


Would the family like me to ask the open question:
“Would anyone like to say anything in loving memory of (deceased)?” ___________________

(If someone, or many people speak, be close by, to help the person walk up the stairs, and help them in their grief. One time, I stood with a person at the lectern to help hold them up, otherwise they would’ve fallen.)

One sentence that would describe person____________________




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